If you aren’t familiar with the dachshund breed, you’d never guess that behind that alert, sweet disposition is the perseverance and courage of a much larger dog. Originally bred to hunt down badgers, these dogs still carry the highly developed senses and independent, devoted nature of their ancestors. The longhaired dachshund is one of three coat varieties within the dachshund breed and, like the other coat types, has two different sizes: standard and miniature.
Breed experts observe that, as a rule, longhaired dachshunds tend to be more easygoing and obedient than smooth or wirehaired dachshunds. Even though they’re usually calm and quiet housemates, they may also exhibit their stubborn streak on occasion. Dachshunds are excellent family pets and their intelligent, playful, sometimes silly nature makes them great companions for children. But the dachshund is a one-person dog as a rule. They’ll love everyone in the household including other pets, but they’ll usually bond with one favorite human.
The standard size grows to between 8 and 9 inches in height at the shoulder. Once they reach adulthood, normal weight is between 16 and 32 pounds. Miniatures are between 5 and 6 inches at the shoulder and weigh up to 11 pounds. People immediately recognize the dachshund’s long body and short legs, but they may not be as familiar with the wirehaired or longhaired coat types.
The longhaired dachshund is a moderate shedder. Elegant and lustrous, their coat is longer on the underside of their body, on the chest, under the neck, behind the legs, and on the ears. It’s also slightly wavy, which adds to the longhaired dachshund’s visual appeal. To keep your sausage dog’s long coat free of mats and tangles, it’s a good idea to brush it every day. The longer hair on the back of the legs, the tail, and around the ears are areas that seem to need the most attention. Bathing every three months is usually sufficient.
The headstrong nature of this breed can make training a bit difficult and that includes housebreaking. Even house-trained dachshunds sometimes choose to relieve themselves indoors, especially if it’s chilly or raining outside. Although it’s tempting to let them get away with things — especially after they look up at you with those expressive, adoring eyes — it’s important to be consistent, firm, and gentle with the longhaired dachshund and not allow them to set their own agenda.
No need to worry about anyone lurking around with these dogs keeping watch. Their barks are surprisingly deeper than canines of comparable size and they’ll alert you to anyone who approaches the premises. Once they find their voice, they’re enthusiastic barkers and are one of the most vocal dog breeds.
An overweight longhaired dachshund is unhealthy. Any extra weight can cause strain on their long back and lead to herniated discs and even paralysis. Exercise is not only important for maintaining their weight, but also for helping them build up the muscles they need to support their back. A healthy diet and regular exercise lead to a longer lifespan of up to 16 years.
Two primary areas can cause potential health issues for the breed, the back, and the ears. Dachshunds should avoid any activity that places strain on their backs. Any type of jumping, from the sofa to the floor, for example, or roughhousing can cause problems, including back injuries or patellar luxation, a dislocation of the kneecaps. Around 25% of dachshunds develop intervertebral disc disease (IVDD). Because they have floppy ears that hang down, longhaired dachshunds are also more prone to ear infections, so check them often and keep them clean. Repetitive head shaking is a sign there’s an ear problem.
Whether you live in the city or the country, you’ll find the longhaired dachshund to be a loving, entertaining, and enjoyable companion that fits in with a variety of human lifestyles. They adapt to leashed walks along busy streets, short jaunts through the woods, or competing in doggie sports. Keeping them on a leash prevents them from giving in to their strong hunting instincts and taking off in pursuit with the first sight of potential prey. However, the longhaired dachshund also has a strong pack instinct and many have separation anxiety. Avoid leaving them alone for long periods.
When you think of a hound, the longhaired dachshund probably isn’t the first dog you picture in your mind. But these low-to-the-ground canines are expert hunters, able to make their way through underground tunnels to roust critters out of their burrows and into the open. Their keen hunting instincts lead to some interesting behaviors, as well. They love to roll around in stinky things, especially dead bugs. This is an attempt to “lose their scent” to prevent prey from catching their scent. Dachshunds also love to dig for grubs outdoors and burrow under blankets when indoors.
Canine historians aren’t sure how the longhaired dachshund came about. Some say it was selective breeding. Others maintain this versatile dog was the result of crossbreeding smooth-haired dachshunds with long-haired spaniel breeds. They do agree that the dachshund has solid German roots dating back to the 17th and 18th centuries. These early dogs were larger than those bred today.
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